Republican Erik Paulsen Re-Elected in Minnesota's 3rd District

Incumbent has a history of winning ticket-splitters

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen is re-elected in Minnesota’s 3rd District. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen will defeat Democrat Terri Bonoff in Minnesota’s 3rd District, The Associated Press projects. 

Paulsen led Bonoff 57 percent to 43 percent with 87 percent of precincts reporting.

The incumbent has a history of winning ticket-splitters — elections where voters split their support between the major parties. He cruised to re-election even when President Barack Obama carried his district.

This cycle, Democrats sought to tie Paulsen to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in hopes of a down-ballot victory.

[Even with Trump, Suburban District Is a Reach for Minnesota Democrats]

Minnesota’s 3rd District covers much of the western suburbs of Minneapolis, including parts of Hennepin and Carver counties. This is the kind of well-educated suburban district Democrats had hoped to put in play with Trump at the top of the GOP ticket.

Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Republican Favored by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.

[Election Results 2016]

In 2014, Paulsen defeated Democrat Sharon Sund 62 percent to 38 percent. 

Paulsen was first elected to Congress in 2008, replacing his former boss Rep. Jim Ramstad. In the 14 years between working as Ramstad’s state director (he worked as an aide in the Washington office at one point too) and running to replace him in Congress, Paulsen split his time serving in Minnesota’s part-time state legislature and working as a business analyst.

A member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Paulsen has been a leading advocate for a repeal of the 2010 health care law's medical device tax. Medical device manufacturers are a big part of his district's economy. 

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